Arkansas fights back to beat No. 17 San Diego State in OT, 78-74

After not playing at all in either Arkansas’ first two games of the Maui Invitational, Kamani Johnson came up with the biggest showing of the night in the Hogs’ 78-74 win over No. 17 San Diego State late Wednesday night.

Johnson was the Hogs’ MVP, but that wouldn’t appear in the score box. He played 18 minutes, all of which came in the second half and extra time. He grabbed seven rebounds and scored seven points – four of which came on a final platform and putt to give Arkansas a 75-72 lead in overtime.

Johnson’s rebound and two free throws with 3.7 seconds left gave the Hogs a 78-74 lead, and he even stole an Aztecs inside pass at the end of the game.

Most of Arkansas’ life on offense has come from Anthony Black and Trayvon Brazile. Black scored 15 and had five boards, while Brazil led the team with 20 points and nine rebounds.

After scoring just one point in the first half, the Rickey Council 4 came alive in the second half to finish with 19 points.

The Hogs finished the game shooting just 40% from the field, but forced 15 turnovers and won the battle on the boards by six to beat the Aztecs.

Here’s the bottom line for Arkansas’ win over San Diego State, who took home the third-ranked Maui Invitational.

After two straight games with 26 points, Black drove straight to the basket and fouled to go to the line, hitting both shots to open the scoring.

By the first media timeout, seven total free throws had been made and the Hogs had a 7-6 lead. San Diego State’s Nathan Mensah — the 2022 Mountain West Player of the Year — had two fouls early in the game.

After taking a rest, Black returned to the game and hit a home run that made it 14-13 a game in favor of the Aztecs in the under-12s. The difference seemed to be three of the hogs’ spins at that point.

Both teams combined to make 17 of their 19 field goals within a five-minute period, and most of the Aztecs’ shots were contested. They led 20-16 halfway through the first half.

A pair of Jaedon Ledee free throws with 8:06 to go gave San Diego State a seven-point advantage, their biggest advantage of the game. Going 9-1, the Aztecs took a 23-16 lead in an 8-year timeout. 14 fouls were called in the game by point.

After the Aztecs extended the run to 15-1, Black ended the drought at 5:38 scoring for Arkansas with a pair of free throws at the 5:44 mark. Black then ended a seven-minute drought without a field goal to put it up 29-22 over the Aztecs in the final media timeout of the half.

San Diego State extended its lead back 11 after the break, but Michael Mitchell, who was playing with three fouls, had a sequence with a block and a dunk to give Arkansas some momentum. That didn’t last, as the Aztecs sprinted downfield and hit a layup.

Davonte Davis hit a jumper with 23 seconds left in the first half to put the Aztecs up 35-26 at halftime.

Trayvon Brazile opened the second period with the first three of the game for both teams. Arkansas got to a touchdown four on a contested jumper from Jordan Walsh, but the Aztecs answered with a right cornerback touchdown shot by Matt Bradley.

Right from the first media timeout, Brazil drained another three to cut the Aztecs’ lead to 37-34. In just over a minute, San Diego State trailed back 45-34 and Eric Musselman wanted a time out.

Ricky Council IV’s first field goal came at 14:03 and went to the free throw line to complete the 3-point play.

In a timeout of 12, the Hogs narrowed the Aztecs’ lead to 49-42.

Brazil punted hard from the board to cut the lead to 51-46, but as had been the case all night, the Aztecs rebounded with a powerful shot. A steal from the board resulted in a dunk to put the Hogs in at four with 8:20 to go.

An error by Kechad Johnson at the 7:40 mark put Arkansas on the bonus and sent Brazil to the line. He hit both shots and made it a three-point game.

San Diego State’s first three pointers were big, putting the Aztecs ahead 61-53 with 5:30 remaining. Board finished strong at the edge on the other end and hit the charity shot to make it a five-point match again.

Brazil drilled a three into the top of the key to make it a 61-59 San Diego State lead, and his closest game was all of the second half.

Seconds later, Mensah fouled to put the hogs in for the treat. Brazile hit one of two final media timeout free throws to make it a one-point game. Arkansas fought for the offensive rebound and the Board drew a foul. He hit one of two free throws to tie it at 61-61.

After a missed dunk by Council, Darrion Trammell hit a draw neck to put the Aztecs ahead with 2:34 to play.

Black fouled with 1:26 remaining and fired two free throws to tie the game at 63-63. Bradley responded with a reverse layup pass to put the Aztecs back.

Adam Seko hit a pair of free throws with 17 seconds left to give the Aztecs a two-run lead in possession. A foul was fouled in transition and he hit both strikes at the line to make it a 67-65 game with just 13 seconds left in the game.

On the ensuing San Diego State touchdown, Brazile fell to a loose ball and immediately called a timeout to give Arkansas the possession. After a missed layup by Black, Kamani Johnson grabbed the rebound and barely managed to slip the ball through the hoop before the buzzer to send it into overtime.

After a Trammell three, Council hit a birdie in the paint to put the Hogs up 71-70 with 3:30 to play. Brazile drove a pass on Arkansas’ ensuing possession to give the Hogs a three-point lead.

The Aztecs responded, but so did the Hogs on another follow-up by Johnson that put them up 75-72 Razorbacks. Kichod Johnson hit a pair of free throws with 39 seconds left in the game to make it a one-point game. On the other end, Johnson fouled the leadership board, who hit one of two free throws to put him up by two points.

Kamani Johnson grabbed a rebound on a shot that was missed by the Aztecs and fouled it with 3.7 seconds left. He hit two free throws to make it a two-possession game and secure the win for the Hogs.

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